By Barrington Billings, Chair of Manningham Housing Association.

It is a source of deep pride that Manningham Housing Association (MHA), which I am honoured to serve as Chair, has a considerably more extensive role in local communities than providing more than 1,400 high quality affordable homes in Bradford and Keighley, particularly to South Asian families.

We seek to positively develop these diverse neighbourhoods through an ever- expanding range of activities rooted in our pioneering Community Investment Strategy.

MHA also endeavours to protect them from illicit individuals and groups who sadly do not share our progressive and outward-looking view of the world.

That was why we had no hesitation in joining scores of other organisations in signing up to a new anti-racism movement launched this week by West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership and the West Yorkshire Violence Reduction Unit.

Devised to proactively challenge racism in all areas of society, the movement is part of an ongoing commitment to tackling structural and institutionalised racism, and addressing health and social inequalities in our region.

The initiative will encourage people to better inform themselves about anti-racist behaviours and practices whilst highlighting real life stories.

Imagery from the campaign will be displayed on buses and social media with the hashtag #WYHRootOutRacism.

With more than 120 languages spoken within its boundaries, Bradford is one of the most diverse cities in the world.  Whilst this should be a universal cause for celebration, a small minority see difference as an opportunity to forge division and, tragically, propagate the evils of racism.  Such an attitude is abhorrent and will always be called out by MHA.

Last month, Lee Bloomfield, our excellent Chief Executive, issued a statement on behalf of the association condemning the racist abuse targetted at black members of the England football team on social media following the loss to Italy.

He also encouraged public-facing organisations with the ability to speak out against such appalling behaviour to take a stand. That makes the launch of the new anti-racism movement so timely.

MHA’s community work allows us to work closely with organisations from numerous different sectors locally, regionally and nationally.

Each of them shares our view that racism is a cancer that must be cut out if we are to live in a society truly at peace with itself.

However, it is incumbent upon all of us to say so over and over again. Remaining quiet serves no one other than the purveyors of hate.

New societal challenges lie ahead if the UK Government fulfils its pledge to offer a safe home to a sizeable number of Afghan refugees following the harrowing scenes in Kabul.

Not everyone will welcome this and some will use their arrival as another chance to spread racist poison.  Any such attempts must be tackled head on as we stand together as a country to oppose racism and promote togetherness.

I commend West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership and the West Yorkshire Violence Reduction Unit for ensuring that our region is well placed to take the lead.